Random Philippines 2

22 01 2015

More pix from my Filipino trip in December, 2014.  These are from Vigan.

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Random Philippines

21 01 2015

From my end-of-2014 short trip to the Philippines.  From Manila.

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Cats in the Philippines

20 01 2015

There were many.  Mostly astray and some domesticated.  My collection.





The Adventurous Bus Journey, Part 2

18 01 2015

So after I got into a rather heated up dialog with the bus people with my luggage not turning up at the bus terminal in Laoag but eventually making my flight to Manila, I was met with another question.  Would the free shuttle bus still be running to my airport hotel at the hour I was arriving which was close to 11 pm?  I asked in the arrival hall but was given vague information so called the hotel and while doing so figured out which bus I was supposed to take and all was well.

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I did not realize that my hotel was part of a big 24-hour entertainment quarter right next to the airport that featured a casino, several hotels, many restaurants and bars, and other entertainment facilities including family-friendly outlets.

By the time I checked in w/o any luggage to unpack, I was hungry enough to go down to the bar for some snack.  They didn’t have anything remotely Filipino. 😦

Anyway the important thing was that I got up early the following morning to go to the Partas bus terminal near the airport and find my bag.  I didn’t think that calling them would help much so I left that until I hopped on a cab and was near the bus terminal.  As I thought, I got nowhere on the phone.

I still kind of got nowhere when I arrived at the bus terminal but being there helped.  I spotted my bag in the L&F or left luggage or whatever section it was at the terminal, shouting with joy.

FOUND!!

FOUND!!

The cab driver that waited for me while I went to look for my bag, when I came back said, “You are lucky.”  Apparently not all (or much) of the lost luggage from bus travel turns up.

At the airport in Manila the security is very tight and you cannot enter any building w/o having your bags checked.  There was a long line at my terminal but hey, didn't matter, I found my bag.  There is HOPE whatever you do. ^^

At the airport in Manila the security is very tight and you cannot enter any building w/o having your bags screened. There was a long line at my terminal but hey, didn’t matter, I found my bag. There is HOPE yet.

 





The Adventurous Bus Journey, Part 1

17 01 2015

As on the way in to Vigan, I had to take the bus the locals take to get to the airport to fly back to Manila.  My flight was at 8:40 pm and calculating that the journey was a couple of hours, I decided to take a bus that left Vigan at about 5 pm.  Earlier in the day, I had gone to the bus terminal to ask what I would have to do to get on the bus at that hour and was told to come about one hour prior, take a number, and wait.  So I did.  I left my hotel at a little before 4 pm on a tricycle taxi.

My ride to the bus terminal.  Cost me only 20 PHP.  On the way in, the driver charged me 50 PHP.

My ride to the bus terminal. Cost me only 20 PHP. On the way in, the driver charged me 50 PHP.

Sitting with my blue Samsonite.

Sitting with my blue Samsonite.

At the Partas bus terminal.  Sitting behind the guy in charge so as not to miss my bus.  It's not like they have announcements in English so I was on the alert.

At the Partas bus terminal. Sitting behind the guy in charge so as not to miss my bus. It’s not like they have announcements in English so I was on the alert.

My number was called out (numbers are always spoken in English in the Philippines) and I made the 4:30 pm bus it was full so I stood.

My number was called out (numbers are always in English in the Philippines) and I made the 4:30 pm bus. It was full so I stood.

Lady selling refreshments on the bus while the bus took a bathroom break at the terminal where I got on.

A lady selling refreshments on the bus while the bus took a bathroom break at the terminal where I got on.

An old Filipino lady sitting with her husband kept offering me 1/3 of their seats and I kept refusing but at the end she was more persistent than me and I gave in.  Half of me sat at the edge of their seats for about an hour and a half until another seat became available.

An old Filipino lady sitting with her husband kept offering me 1/3 of their seats and I kept refusing but at the end she was more persistent than me and I gave in. Half of me sat at the edge of their seats for about an hour and a half until another seat became available.

Fast forward.  We reached the final destination Laoag after more than three hours with traffic and stops made along the way only to find out that my “blue Samsonite” which I had checked in with one of the bus crew was missing.  Dread came over me and I thought, anything I had in that bag and the bag itself, I am not going to get back.  Ever. And by this time I was getting worried that I might miss my flight as well as my flight the next morning to Tokyo if I didn’t make it back to Manila.

Long story short, my bag was located at the terminal in Vigan though it took forever to find and thanks to one of the bus people in Laoag being smart and quick,  after hearing what time I was flying out to Tokyo and from which terminal, told the Vigan people to put my bag on the night bus that was leaving Vigan that evening, arriving in Manila at a terminal near the airport at 6 am the following day.  I was given numbers to call the next morning to see if my bag had been successfully transferred.  From there I hopped on a tricycle who would not go for less than 150 PHP to head to the airport and made my flight.

I told him to step on it and he seriously did.  He was overtaking cars.

I told him to step on it and he seriously did. He was overtaking everyone.

What awaited at the airport: a body weight check.  WTF

What awaited at the airport: a body weight check. WTF

I was one of the last passengers to arrive.

I was one of the last passengers to arrive.

My ride back to Manila.

My ride back to Manila.

To be continued.

 





The Second Lunch in Vigan: Filipino Empanada

16 01 2015

After I enjoyed my “milkfish” lunch, I decided to go back to my hotel and work (i.e. update blog, facebook, sort photos, etc.) on my computer until it was time for me to go catch a bus to the airport.  My lovely hotel being very simple with no frills did not have any beverage or food service on site except for breakfast so I decided to stop by the liquor store, probably the only one in town, I passed by a few times to take something with me back to the hotel.

Ended up with a bottle of Filipino beer I hadn’t tried and was happily walking home when I came across an outdoor eatery featuring the local street food: empanada.

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It was something local I had wanted to try but again, most empanadas are sold at stalls and not restaurants so no hope of grabbing any beer with it that I had scrapped the idea of eating one at all during my stay in Vigan.  However, when I came across this shop, though I was full with milkfish I had a bottle of beer with me.  The empanadas being made in front of you were too tempting to pass up so I asked, could I open my bottle and have my beer here if I were to try one of your empanadas?  The lady smiled and welcomed me in.

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The World Heritage Part of Vigan

15 01 2015

So the city of Vigan in the Philippines was named a “cultural” World Heritage site in 1999 by UNESCO which was the reason why I decided to take this trip to visit Vigan.  Unfortunately as I have experienced with some of my past visits to these World Heritage sites, this one was somewhat run down and was a Disneyland type of site.

This is the general feel of the main historic street.

This is the general feel of the main historic street.

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These probably look better.

And here are some other points of interest.

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Did I enjoy the visit?  Yes.  Maybe less for the historic part so for people expecting more from a World Heritage site, this might not be it.  But for the market, the people, and my rather adventurous travel experiences, I loved it.








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